Apple Opens Up: Kernel, Mac OS Forge, iCal Server, Bonjour, Launchd

After taking a bit of heat for appearing to have closed the XNU source, Apple just announce that XNU and more are being released as Open Source. The projects will be hosted at Mac OS Forge, which will be replacing the OpenDarwin servers and may serve as a home for external (non-Apple) Open Source projects in the future. The one thing I found a bit odd while the previous story was making its rounds was how much heat Apple was taking. They aren't an Open Source company, and the don't really claim to be. They do, however, support Open Source where they feel it's advantageous or beneficial. That's more than can be said for most proprietary software companies. My guess is that the delay was a result of them not wanting the PPC->Intel news to leak too early, or simply that they didn't have sufficient time to cleanup the code for release. It could be something more nefarious though (such as them intending to really close that source and just now changing their mind). The former seems much more likely, but in the end we'll almost certainly never know.
The current list of what Apple is releasing is quite impressive from the brief look I gave it. Especially compelling is the Darwin Calendar Server (also known as iCal Server). This may have the best potential to serve as an Exchange replacement as anything I've seen to date (although it should be noted that Zimbra makes a really good product). Also interesting was the mention of “Apple Teams” on the list of supported clients, which also includes Mozilla Thunderbird. It looks like a wiki-based client that will support team collaboration and shared calendaring. On the topic of licensing, most releases are being done under the Apache license, and in fact some apps that were previous released under the Apple Public Source License have been converted. It's good to see Apple doing their part in cutting down on license proliferation.
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